Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

Why Politicians Matter

in Democratic Theory
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Distrust towards politicians is often identified as a key factor behind the current “crisis of democracy.” If there is a crisis, it only seems natural that at least some responsibility must rest with the political elite. This article locates this distrust in the context of broader debates about “antipolitics” and depoliticization. It examines how these debates have been informed by the putatively new set of challenges presented by the shift to governance and changing notions of legitimacy. The article concludes that politicians remain a necessity, not a choice. Politicians might be part of the problem, but they are certainly not the only problem. It ends by calling for a re-articulation of the relationship between government and citizens and leadership and democracy.